Last night this question was posed to me:
My reactions are so automatic, how do I catch them and choose differently before I speak or act?
In this piece, I list the 3 Step go-to process I use to help keep me out of recklessness and aligned with empowerment.
Step 1 – Awareness
By simply recognizing and owning your auto-pilot responses, you immediately alert your mind to a dysfunctional pattern within yourself that needs attention.
It’s about bringing forth unconscious, automatic behaviors into consciousness where they can be seen and healed.
This is the most important step. Congratulate yourself for recognizing your pattern!
Step 2 – Slow Down
The reason why we have auto-pilot responses is because they are part of the momentum of a learned behavior. In other words, they are our habits and patterns.
Imagine you are barreling down the road in your car going 90 mph and you have to stop quickly for something obstructing the road. It’s super hard to stop the momentum of your car when it is going so fast. Quite often your car will go into an uncontrollable skid then crash into the object that you were trying to avoid.
Now imagine slowing down your speed to a cool and comfortable 35 mph. At this speed, you have a chance to see the obstruction ahead which creates a much better chance of avoiding it by applying the brakes and safely stopping the car.
The same concept happens when we slow down our mind. We actually make space for a change in reaction.
But how do I slow down? I’ve been functioning this way for so long I don’t know how.
Step 3 – Practice meditation and presence
One of the hidden benefits of meditation is clearer thinking and better responses to stimuli. This happens by decreasing our stress and removing the emotional filters we historically processed through.
When we are not processing through a heightened state of being, we can plan better, consider other options and make better choices.
Furthermore, our clarity of thought and decreased emotional body helps us become even more creative and productive.
One of the best things I discovered from my meditation practice was how gentle I became with myself and others. I didn’t realize my practice was helping me until I began to observe how I differently I was responding to the world.
Slowing down can start as easily as repeating the mantra :
Slow down… slow down… Everything is okay and in Divine Right order.
Please feel free to share your “slow down” practices in Comments. We’d love to hear them!